drcarlsonalbion and the Hackney Lass - Modern English Folklore volume one: Hackney (Black vinyl)

Gatefold 2x7" - 4 tracks
Limited edition of 1500 (Black vinyl edition)
Projected release date: 1.10.12

Collages by Battle Of The Eyes

Track listing:

A Hackney Iliad
B Tyler's Hand of Glory
C Hackney Iliad (instrumental)
D Tyler's Hand of Glory (instrumental)

Guitars/music by Dylan Carlson. Original writings vocalised by Rosie Knight, a young spoken word poet and activist from Hackney. Recorded by Stuart Hallerman at Avast!, Seattle, June 2012. Vinyl cut by Jason Goz at Transition Mastering Studios, London, July 2012. "England, oh, perfidious England, as the ramparts of its seas were inaccessible to the Romans, there also the faith of Christ is kept at bay"

‘Modern English Folklore Vol.1: Hackney’ is the second release in the ongoing drcarlsonalbion project, begun by Dylan Carlson of Earth. It reflects his longstanding interest in the occult folklore and history of the United Kingdom and his abiding love for all things British.

The first release, ‘Edward Kelley’s Blues’ b/w ‘Drunk on Angelspeech’ for cassette-only label The Tapeworm, comprised spectral environmental recordings from the area around Waterloo Station, a former haunt of magicians and alchemists in the early modern era, and the site of one of Dylan’s own encounters with ‘spiritual creatures’. That release focused on Dr John Dee and, more importantly, his much-maligned scryer/medium, Edward Kelley. This second instalment uses ancient myth and occult lore, updated to the present-day Borough of Hackney in London’s East End. 

A drcarlsonalbion tour of the UK and Ireland is planned for October, culminating in a performance at the Supersonic Festival in Birmingham. Dylan Carlson will be accompanied by an ensemble featuring the Hackney Lass, focussing on the third drcarlsonalbion release ‘La Strega and the Cunning-Man’ (a Latitudes session). 

This is a double 7" on The Wormhole, a byproduct of The Tapeworm. The second disc features instrumental tracks.


Textura (USA):

The first thing one notices about this second chapter in Dylan Carlson's drcarlsonalbion project is, of course, the presentation, with its two seven-inch vinyl discs (black or clear) enclosed within a strikingly illustrated gatefold sleeve; thankfully, the songs on the discs themselves are as striking. For this project, the Earth guitarist is joined by Rosie Knight, a young spoken word poet and activist from Hackney who gives voice to her writings on the first disc's two pieces; the second disc is the same material presented in instrumental form, the voice wholly stripped away. Whereas Edward Kelley's Blues / Drunk on Angelspeech, the inaugural drcarlsonalbion release, appeared on cassette and used alchemist John Dee as a springboard, Modern English Folklore Vol.1: Hackney shifts the focus to ancient myth and occult folklore and the present-day borough of Hackney in London's East End.

On the opening song, “Hackney Iliad,? Carlson's guitar provides a gently drifting base for Knight's distinctive, measured delivery. Sometimes violent in its imagery, the text references familiar mythological figures (Cronos, Orpheus, Odysseus) by way of relating the text to a modern-day narrative rooted in East End. Side two's “Tyler's Hand of Glory? recounts the dramatic story of a man who pursues occult learning, seeing himself as a modern-day Warlock who monitors suicides on a police scanner; a sense of dread and gloom infuses Knight's cryptic text, which Carlson nicely complements with a raw yet unobtrusive backing. As captivating as Knight's presence is, there's a part of me that's drawn even more to the instrumental versions, simply because one gets to hear Carlson's tremolo-laden playing without anything else getting in the way. When reduced to electric guitar and effects only, “Hackney Iliad? becomes a meditative drone reminiscent of Fear Falls Burning in its slow unfolding, while “Tyler's Hand of Glory? presents an even more molten handling of the material.

Boomkat (UK):

Bewitching first instalment from The Tapeworm's "format-free" new imprint The Wormhole, pairing Dylan Carlson's guitar soundscaping with original writings vocalised by Rosie Knight, a young spoken word poet and activist from Hackney. It's the second issue from Earth's Dylan Carlson for his drcarlsonalbion project, and the first volume of 'Modern English Folklore' furthering his longstanding interest in the occult history and folklore of the UK. While the previous edition, 'Edward Kelley's Blues' documented his visits to Waterloo station through the use of spectral field recordings, this one literally features a gripping poetic narrative incanted with a strong Hackney accent crossing sonic and metaphysical lines between ancient greek tragedy and arcane lore transposed to a modern day East End. The enunciation and articulation of both artists is so well measured as to avoid any cloying cliche - this really had the danger of becoming a dodgy project - but the effect of Carlson's restrained, swirling guitar minimalism and Knight's clipped consonants and poised delivery has us rapt throughout.

tinymixtapes (USA):

Listening to Modern English Folklore Volume One: Hackney and looking at its packaging epidermis, I realize I don’t have enough gatefold 2x7-inches; I also, frankly, don’t have enough Earth records (and I have both the infamous Bible 2xLP and the two most-recent double albums), considering how towering a presence Dylan Carlson has been all these years, particularly in the Pacific Northwest (land of the eternal cloud, former home to one Gumshoe). He’s gone Heavy, he’s gone Mystical, he’s gone climax-free post-rock, and now, he’s gone straight English, providing a supple bed for readings of folk tales by… why, a comely-voiced lass, that’s who! Releases such as this aren’t your typical listening experience. You’re not going to pop this in while you and your buddies prefunk or whatever; Modern English is better imbibed during a weekend morning on the back porch, when turns like “The blade slipping in the blood? can be reflected upon without the distractions of life to burden them. I question whether metal freaks will have time for this, but those well-versed in Earth’s last few releases shouldn’t have any qualms. More of a flowing, float-y ferry ride this time around, guitars making light impressions while the fog provides the bulk of the experience, save, obviously, the lass, whose tales surpass a book-on-tape slog by dint of the lyrical thrust of the material. At this point, Carlson would have to foul up pretty badly to lose my absolute trust, and yet appreciation of his work is never obligatory. He earns it, as he does here and did then and will up there.

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drcarlsonalbion and the Hackney Lass - Modern English Folklore volume one: Hackney (Black vinyl)

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